Sunday 30th December (Christmas 1C)

This year Christmas nearly passed me by. Our old tool shed had long ago passed it’s ‘use by’ date and I’d organised the delivery of a new shed. The ‘flat pack’ came with every part numbered, packets of nuts, bolts and myriad screws – and comprehensive instructions. Wet weather, hot weather: the fabrication of the various panels took longer than expected. Wet weather, hot weather: construction was delayed and when it happened the day started out mild, even cool, but warmed up uncomfortably as our energy levels flagged and a little frustration crept in. Then there were days of arranging the contents – benches, shelving, tools and ‘stuff’ – which had been either stacked under the house or shrouded in a large blue polypropylene sheet in the yard. The enterprise amost consumed me to the extent that when it was all but complete I realised that Christmas Day was only two days away…

So, it’s been an odd week and, as odd thoughts came to mind I jotted them down.

showed us God’s way,
but Meister Eckhart asks,
is this one born again in us
each day?

Some years
we read about
the killing of infants
whose monstrous death is occasioned
by the questions of men
whose tale we hear
a week or so

Have you ever noticed how much movement is associated with Christmas and the lead-up to Christmas? I mean, apart from people ‘going away for Christmas’, or ‘coming home for Christmas’. Scan the lectionary for Advent and Christmas. There was John the Baptiser out in the Judean wilderness and people came from all over to hear him and be baptised: all the people of Jerusalem came to hear him. Then we hit ‘Rewind’. Gabriel visits Mary. Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth and later goes home again. A census has masses of people on the move, including Joseph and Mary travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Jesus is born and some shepherds visit. Eight days later, Mary and Joseph bring Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem. At the same time an old man is inspired to visit the Temple (one last time?). Joseph, Mary and Jesus head back to Nazareth. Fast Forward twelve years and the family make a journey from Nazareth to Jerusalem and return.

It seems to me that all of this movement just adds to the sometimes frenetic pace of the Christmas ‘season’. I spent much of December at home, focussed on my shed, but much of life today is spent hovering around the highway speed limit. Those folk moved at walking pace. Perhaps we simply need to slow down and, as my friend Pat Baker once wrote, take time, time to find the meaning of Christmas.
        © Jeff Shrowder, 2012.
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